We’re all about saving money while traveling, but the need for convenience and unexpected complications can bust a budget in a hurry. These apps can come through in a pinch, helping with everything from finding a ride to a fast, affordable meal.
Lots of us are using on-demand travel apps like Uber these days, and surge pricing can make convenience a lot more expensive. The next time you find yourself in a surge pricing situation, open this app – it uses Uber’s API to map the closest area with no surge expense (and sometimes it’s just a block away).
Disney World & Universal Wait Times (iPhone & Android)
This app from Undercover Tourist is great for anyone venturing to the big theme parks. It provides crowd calendars, point-of-view YouTube videos of rides, and tips to help skip the lines and plan to get the most out of each day at the parks. It also shares theme park hours, parade and event schedules, and recommended parks for the next 180 days. What we love most: The real-time wait time feature for attractions.
Hopper (iPhone available; Android coming soon)
It’s the age-old question: When is the best time to book your flight? This new app analyzes billions of flight prices a day to provide advice on when to fly and buy — saving travelers as much as 40 percent on their flight. It also features price prediction, forecasting future prices by analyzing historical price data for similar trips, and will advise you whether to book now or wait for a better price.
Wi-Fi Finder (iPhone & Android)
These days, WiFi is everywhere, but you just need to know where to find it. This app will find the nearest free signal, be it at a park, café, hotel, or the local mall. It’ll then map out directions for the easiest way for you to get there.
Packpoing (iPhone & Android)
Whether you travel weekly or once a year, packing is never fun. This app is an amazing help, surveying your basic needs for any trip based on weather, location, and your anticipated plans. Not only will it help to streamline your packing, but it’ll also help you save on baggage fees and help to prevent buying expensive odds and ends at your destination.
Skype (iPhone & Android)
You’re probably already using Skype on your home computer, but it’s an amazing travel app accessory as well. As long as you’re attached to WiFi, you can use this app to keep in touch and check your messages, minus international fees or roaming charges. Calls run about two cents per minute.
Tipping customs vary around the world and can be confusing when you’re abroad. This app helps calculate the appropriate tip no matter where your travels take you.
HotelTonight (iPhone & Android)
You probably already know this one, but it’s too good not to include. Whether you’re taking a spontaneous trip or have to alter your plans because of unexpected hiccups, this app is great for finding steep last-minute local discounts. And don’t forget the Rate Drops that can kick in after 3 p.m.
GasBuddy (iPhone & Android)
Running out of gas in an unfamiliar area can be disconcerting. It’s even worse when you have no idea where the nearest open station may be. This app lets you search by zip code or city to find nearby gas stations — and the ones with the best prices, too.
Editor’s Note: Readers have shared their difficulties with Meal Ticket, an app that was previously on this list. While we were able to access it, we decided to remove the feature, to avoid common frustration. Thanks everyone who left a message!